Pasts pardoned | 

Loyalists linked to some of the Troubles worst crimes pictured parading on Twelfth

Eddie McIlwaine was a member of the notorious Shankill Butchers’ gang and Gorman McMullan was named as the suspected driver in the Loughinisland Massacre

Eddie McIlwaine, a former member of the Shankill Butchers, takes part in Twelfth celebrations

Gorman McMullan was named as the getaway driver in the loughinisland murders. Gorman was marching during the 12th of july and is photographed while reading a poem

Hugh JordanSunday World

The two men pictured here parading on the 12th are living proof the Orange Order is prepared to pardon past loyalist paramilitary crimes.

Eddie McIlwaine and Gorman McMullan have been linked to some of the worst UVF terror crimes of the Troubles.

McIlwaine was a member of the notorious Shankill Butchers’ gang which operated in north and west Belfast during the mid-1970s.

The unit which was largely under the control of ‘Master Butcher’ Lenny Murphy was responsible for killing 19 people, mostly Catholics.

A former part-time UDR soldier, he was sent down for 10 years after he admitted abducting and wounding Gerard McLaverty.

In May 1977, 19 year-old Gerard McLaverty, was walking home to his digs when he was approach by three men who got out a car claiming to be police officers from Tennant Street Police Station.

But the bogus RUC men abducted him and took him to a disused doctors’ surgery in the Shankill area, where a group of men were waiting for him. They were all members of the illegal loyalist terror group, the UVF.

They kicked and battered him and tried to strangle him with bootlaces. The men became so worn out, they even stopped and made tea before returning to their gruesome ritual.

Eventually after repeatedly stabbing Gerard McLaverty, the Butcher gang dumped his body in a back alley.

But on hearing McLaverty’s groans the following morning, a nurse who lived nearby contacted the police.

The victim had been brutally stabbed and left for dead. But after medical treatment he miraculously recovered.

And he was able to give the police a detailed account of his experience at the hands of the soon to be infamous ‘Shankill Butchers’ gang.

Gerard McLaverty agreed to travel up and down the Shankill Road in a blacked out police vehicle. And he pointed out every one of his would-be killers as they stood outside pubs and bookies shops.

When the police began rounding up the UVF gang, McIwaine went on the run. And in an effort to track him down, the police contacted his superiors in the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Anticipating a future trial involving serious terrorist crime, his regiment immediately dismissed him from the army.

A year after he was release in 1983, McIwaine was himself the victim of a murder attempt when republican gunmen shot him as he drove a taxi in Belfast in 1991.

Now a pensioner, McIlwaine is often seen out in public parading with the Orange Order. Gerard McLavery, who suffered mental ill health for the rest of his life died a number of years ago aged 50.

Gorman McMullan was named as the getaway driver in the loughinisland murders. Gorman was marching during the 12th of july and is photographed while reading a poem

Gorman McMullan (68) is a convicted Red Hand Commando bomber, who was jailed for his part in blowing up a Catholic owned pub in September 1972.

Pictured here in a guards dress uniform, McMullan is a member of the UVF Regimental Band based in east Belfast, although he also has strong links with loyalist on the Shankill Road.

As a teenager, he joined the same east Belfast British Army Cadet Corps as the notorious loyalist killer Michael Stone and the lead gunman in the Bookies Shop Massacre on the Ormeau Road in 1992.

McMullan left to join the paramilitary Red Hand Commando.

Gorman McMullan was named in the Emmy Award nominated film ‘No Stone Unturned’ as the suspected driver of the car used in the Loughinisland Massacre, when six Catholic men were shot dead as they watched the world cup in TV in 1994.

McMullan was arrested and questioned in connection with the killings, but later released.

Today, he loves nothing better than parading the streets of Belfast dressed as a pretend soldier.

Yesterday, the Reverend Mervyn Gibson stood over the Orange Order’s stance on allowing convicted terrorists to join the organisation.

He told the Sunday World: “If people have been convicted and done their time, the institution allows them to join again.”

And he added: “If you have paid your dues to society, then there is no problem.”

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